Publication details [#7116]

Lang, Diane E. 2006. "We do it like this...": An ethnographic case study of a gan-style early childhood program and metaphors for school as community. Ithaca, N.Y.. 126 pp.


Schools that exhibit a sense of community tend to have stronger social and academic exit outcomes. Literature (Bryk, 1993; Clinchy, 2000; Coleman, 1982; Coleman, 1987; Meier,1995; Noddings,1992; Oxley,1997; Rich & De Vitis,1992; Sergiovanni, 1994; Strike, 1999a; Strike, 2000; Wenger,1998) outlines factors that contribute to a sense of community in schools. As educators seek to create schools where a sense of community is foundational, it is important and enlightening to find exemplars and analyze the social processes that enliven them. The development of metaphors for capturing the essence of these schools furthers the academic dialogue about this potential. This dissertation addresses these concerns in two ways. First, an ethnographic case study of a school illuminates how an exemplar operates as a community. Second, the issue of using metaphors to engage in a meaningful discussion of schools as communities is explored and expanded. The ethnographic case study is set in an urban private minority-language school. Ethnographic field methods (Creswell,1998; Sanjek,1990) were employed. The theoretical frameworks provided by linguistic anthropology and socio-cultural anthropology is applied. Emphasis is placed on conceptualizations of language socialization and the cultural production of the person. These concepts are exploited in order to mine the social processes that facilitate membership in a school with a strong sense of community. The dissertation provides a historical perspective on the issue of community in school in the United States, offers a working definition of community, discusses the importance of school as community and categorizes school communities using Strike's "Four Metaphors". Issues of community are laid out in relation to the ethnographic case study. Areas of intersection with Strike's Four Metaphors and departures from them are identified. Given the findings drawn from the case study, it is argued that there is a need for the addition of a fifth metaphor to Strike's school community typology. Further, the theory of community is extended through the conceptual development of a model for inclusion for a wide range of participants. (Dissertation Abstracts)